Tanna - Settlements

The most salient feature in the cultural landscape is the kavadrinking ground. These are forest clearings, shaded by magnificent banyan trees. Men convene there daily to prepare and drink kava ( Piper methysticum ). People also meet there to dance, to exchange goods, and to resolve disputes. Nucleated villages or scattered hamlets are located along the periphery of these circular clearings. At the last official census in 1979, Tanna had ninety-two villages that included 370 hamlets. Most villages are small, averaging about sixty residents. Most families possess one or more sleeping houses, plus a cook house. The traditional thatched house is still common, although many people now also build with corrugated aluminum and cement brick.

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